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Pols: Bring July 4th Fireworks Back to East River

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State Sen. Daniel Squadron and other leaders gathered on a Brooklyn pier this afternoon to call for the return of the city's fireworks show to the East River.

Elected leaders from Manhattan and Brooklyn stood on the East River waterfront this afternoon to appeal to department store giant Macy’s to move its annual Independence Day fireworks display away from New Jersey and back within the city’s borders.

Since 2009, when it was relocated westward in honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s expedition, Macy’s has staged its July Fourth gala on the Hudson River. Critics say that grants the best views of New York’s celebration to residents of New Jersey, and State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Council Member Stephen Levin and others said Monday it’s time to right that wrong.

“New York’s Fourth of July fireworks should be a citywide celebration. Instead, the millions of New Yorkers who live in Brooklyn, Queens and the East Side of Manhattan are kept out of the party, while we send visitors and business to New Jersey. That simply makes no sense,” said Squadron, who represents Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The Macy's Fourth of July fireworks of 2011, as seen from a high-rise on the Lower East Side.

Chinatown Council Member Margaret Chin chimed in, saying: “It is fitting that we once again celebrate our nation’s birthday along the East River, which was the doorway to America for waves of immigrants arriving in New York City.”

Along with attempting to pursuade Macy’s executives to move the annual display eastward, the elected officials also proposed a “Fireworks Community Outreach Plan” that would spread the word to communities across the city when fireworks are planned throughout the year. In a letter to Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, they requested that neighborhood residents and local leaders be notified of specifics about permits, blackout dates and other details.

Meanwhile, Macy’s confirmed to Gothamist today that this year’s show will be staged on the Hudson.

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  1. I absolutely agree that the 4th of July fireworks show should be put back on the East River last year I had to go over to the west side to watch the show and fight through crowds of people it took me over an hour just to try and get a good spot to watch the show.  Then leaving was a mess..it was much better on the East Side where they closed down the FDR Drive for people to watch the show from both Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens…much better!!!!! 

  2. For families with kids, the Hudson is far, far better.  I’d hate to see it go back to the East River.  Having the fireworks along the Hudson makes them viewable easily even above 50th Street, and a full mile of Riverside Park.  Makes for great picnicking and socializing.

  3. If they MUST, I suppose Macy’s could alternate between the Hudson and East Rivers, but really, the Hudson is far superior; it has much easier access to public transit and larger, wider parks. The river much wider and the views are not blocked by as many tall buildings.  Besides, Macy’s has customers in NJ to placate…it’s not like the City of New York is funding the fireworks.

  4.  With all due respect, F.U.N.K. NJ, let them get their own fireworks.  West side is for the richie riches of the world, Bring it back to the people.

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